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E0102-VR: Exploring the scientific potential of Virtual Reality for observational astrophysics

Baracaglia, Enrico and Vogt, Frédéric P.A. E0102-VR: Exploring the scientific potential of Virtual Reality for observational astrophysics. (2020) Astronomy and Computing, 30. 100352-100358. ISSN 2213-1337

(Document in English)

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ascom.2019.100352


Virtual Reality (VR) technology has been subject to a rapid democratization in recent years, driven in large by the entertainment industry, and epitomized by the emergence of consumer-grade, plug-and-play, room-scale VR devices. To explore the scientific potential of this technology for the field of observational astrophysics, we have created an experimental VR application: E0102-VR. The specific scientific goal of this application is to facilitate the characterization of the 3D structure of the oxygen-rich ejecta in the young supernova remnant 1E 0102.2-7219 in the Small Magellanic Cloud. Using E0102-VR, we measure the physical size of two large cavities in the system, including a (7.0 ± 0.5) pc-long funnel structure on the far-side of the remnant. The E0102-VR application, albeit experimental, demonstrates the benefits of using human depth perception for a rapid and accurate characterization of complex 3D structures. Given the implementation costs (time-wise) of a dedicated VR application like E0102-VR, we conclude that the future of VR for scientific purposes in astrophysics most likely resides in the development of a robust, generic application dedicated to the exploration and visualization of 3D observational datasets, akin to a “ds9-VR”.

Item Type:Article
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:Université de Toulouse > Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace - ISAE-SUPAERO (FRANCE)
Other partners > European Southern Observatory - ESO (GERMANY)
Laboratory name:
Deposited On:18 Nov 2020 16:12

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